Sprint Claims Vonage Wouldn't Exist Without Sprint's Patents

from the stop-laughing dept

Already facing possible shutdown and huge fines from Verizon over some VoIP patents, Vonage is apparently facing a similar threat from Sprint as well. The case was filed nearly two years ago, but it finally is underway, with Sprint making the ridiculous claim that without Sprint’s patents, Vonage wouldn’t exist. We’ve already gone through this with Verizon, but there’s a ton of prior art on VoIP offerings — and almost all of these patents seem overly broad and quite speculative. Lots of different folks all figured out how VoIP could work at about the same time (suggesting that the concept was the natural progression of the technology, which isn’t something that’s supposed to receive patent protection). Vonage’s real innovation was in figuring out how to package and market the service — something that neither Sprint nor Verizon did. Both companies are now simply trying to shut down a rival who out-innovated them in the market. That’s not what the patent system is designed to do, and it’s a blatant abuse of the patent system by both telcos to claim that Vonage somehow “stole” anything from them.

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Companies: sprint, verizon, vonage

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Comments on “Sprint Claims Vonage Wouldn't Exist Without Sprint's Patents”

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Squidly says:

Re: Random Thoughts

Both Telcos are probably just using the Vonage suit to “test the waters”. If all goes well, they can then go after the bigger fish taking more of the market like the cable companies (like Comcast). I’m sure the Telcos have broad enough patents to find something to sue the cable companies on with regards to VoIP.

Jason says:

Re: Re:

Disclaimer: I currently work for Vonage.

I think Verizon really does care about Vonage. Not in a competition sense though. If Verizon wins this case, it’ll give them precedence to go after the other competitors. I would’ve thought that Verizon would go after smaller competitors. However, Vonage, in a lawsuit sense, is probably a better mark since, as you have seen, the case probably seemed more likely to go to trial (don’t know if/how any settlement talks went), which, with a win, would give the precedent necessary for other cases.

RandomThoughts (user link) says:

People talk about the confusion of this lawsuit (I thought Verizon owned the patents?)but there are many different patents that Vonage could be hit with. That being said, going after Vonage is all nice and good, but I seriously doubt that Verizon or Sprint would try to take on a big cable company.

Who really wants to go after someone who has as big a legal staff and as deep pockets as you do?

If these lawsuits don’t kill Vonage, their business plan will.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

People talk about the confusion of this lawsuit (I thought Verizon owned the patents?)but there are many different patents that Vonage could be hit with.

People talk about the confusion of this lawsuit (I thought Verizon owned the patents?) but there are many different bogus patents that Vonage could be hit with.

There, you left a word out. Fixed it for you.

Ken says:

Patent Reform

Despite all this hoop-la of suing over patent use, why can’t the courts, or really anyone, see that the patent system is pretty much out run its use. Sure, it’s great and all, but with it’s current mishaps, I say trash it and rebuild it.
The whole thing is practically corrupt and the people who abuse it are worse.
Who ever votes that Sprint and Verizon both know they are abusing the patent system say “I.”
That’s what I believe.
Hey America, Wake Up.

Anonymosity says:

What I find amazing...

… is the fact that multiple times a day I read articles about all of this, and each article has dozens if not hundreds of responses. Yet somehow “our” legal system completely ignores the majority in favor of big business.

This is OUR Country, aren’t WE supposed to be making the laws, not the TelCo’s and CableCo’s with deep pockets?

Every day that goes by I think more and more than this government should be dismantled and rebuilt. We’re living in a land of laws that were written by rich men long before the turn of the century and those laws have been twisted so much by modern rich men that it’s just entirely corrupt.

But how do you tear down a government that controls the largest and most powerful military in the world? We as a people protest because we have a constitutional right to dismantle a faulty government, yet that same government can say “no, we’re staying and you’re going home or we’ll arrest you all”.

I’m going to be starting a website soon for people to congregate and device a way to tear apart this government without getting a bunch of people shot. Not because I hate the law, but because the law should be just and fair and that law should be written by the people, not the corporations.

Thomason says:

Vonage invented advertising, not VOIP

Vonage’s innovations appears confined to its ads and promotions (which too seem adopted from the days when telcos competed for everyone’s long distance biz). To laud a company because they effectively cobbled together other companies’ patented technology into an operating business is akin to being enamored by the flair and cuteness of Robin Hood or Capt. Jack Sparrow.

EF from MN says:

You hit the nail on the head... again

I just hope the individuals and companies that would benefit most by your poignant insight, read Techdirt. Do they? are they aware of your comments? Are the abusers aware of what you write? It would seem that Techdirt blog-points are able to blow semi-truck sized holes through the erroneous claims of those unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of Techdirt’s journalistic gun; your blog. It’s a WMD (Weapon of Masterful Destinction).

Adam Brown (user link) says:

Sprint is deceptive and people aren't going to tak

I would be surprised if Sprint has a strong future due to some basic business practices of theirs. Like many of the other huge wireless corporations, Sprint insists on locking people into long contracts. If Sprint was confident in their offerings they wouldn’t try to lock people into staying with them.

My company is in Austin, TX and Sprint insisted that they have excellent coverage and could provide us the GPS tracking that we needed. We got over a dozen phones and two high-speed data cards. Since we started service, we have had terrible coverage, text messages take up to 12 hours to reach the recipients, and the high-speed data cards have never worked. The GPS tracking was a joke and NOT what they showed to us.

We have talked to the sales people, tech support, corporate, and have never gotten a response. Recently they have raised the text messaging rates even though we were under contract.
What is the purpose of a contract if the company can change the rates but won’t let the consumer out of the contract?

People are starting to wise up about Sprints deceptive practices and how cellphone contracts do not benefit the consumer, only the vendor. All they do is lock you into service that doesn’t work.

Adam Brown
Longhorn Services – longhorn-services.com

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